Sunday, 19 May 2013

Plotting With Pinterest - Lucy Coats

Last time I was here I gave you my 5 Top Tips for Staying in the Writing Zone. The good news is that I'm still there, writing away. The other good news is that I have a new plotting and planning tool to share with you - and a brand new way of envisioning characters.

Let's go to the plotting and planning first.... I've been on Pinterest for a while, but was really just messing around with it and wasting time before now, and not really seeing the point of it as far as writing is concerned. However, yesterday the light dawned.

I'm writing a new novel, and needed to pull together some images for it - some to inspire, others to inform - in other words, I needed a plot setting mood board. Now, I could have done that by laboriously printing, cutting and pasting images onto a big sheet of paper. I've tried that before. But my colour printer is playing up, and, frankly, the thought filled me with a sense of extreme lassitude. Then I remembered Pinterest.  It took me about half an hour to call up the images I needed, make a new Pinterest board and pull everything together.  Now all the pictures I want are on one big webpage, and I have a visual feast to help me step into the time and place I need. I can add to it any time, and I've also plugged it into my 'research' slot on the Scrivener document for this novel. I can therefore split my page and see both writing and pictures at one time, and I feel like a dog with two tails.

Now to the envisioning of characters.  That sort of came out of the Pinterest thing too. After a little searching, I found an image of a modern day young man which fitted my idea of what my hero looks like.  But I needed to take him back to another time and make him a bit different to fit what I had in mind.  How to do that?  I have an iPad app called InspirePro (it's the one David Hockney uses) which has, quite literally, inspired me to try my hand at painting again. It's amazing and fun, and has rekindled my love of messing about with colour and technique experimentation.  I thought I'd give remodelling the photo a go with that.

Here's the image I found (I wish I knew where it came from originally - apparently he's a male model, but unfortunately I can find no photo credit to acknowledge).

Here's what I did with him.

I still need to do some work, but he's pretty much how I imagine my character to look, barring the nose (which needs to be bigger) and the hair, (which needs to be shinier). Still, it's a start, and I'm going to do the same with my other main characters when I find images which suit them, as this small expenditure of effort has already helped me to connect with who my hero is.

Do any other writers do stuff like this?  I'd love to know.

Lucy's new picture book, Bear's Best Friend, is published by Bloomsbury 
"A charming story about the magic of friendship which may bring a tear to your eye" Parents in Touch 
"The language is a joy…thoughtful and enjoyable" Armadillo Magazine. 
"Coats's ebullient, sympathetic story is perfectly matched by Sarah Dyer's warm and witty illustrations." The Times   
Her latest series for 7-9s, Greek Beasts and Heroes is out now from Orion Children's Books. 
Lucy's Website
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Lucy's Scribble City Central Blog (A UK Top 10 Children's Literature Blog)
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Lucy is represented by Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor Ltd


Tabatha said...

Clever idea!

Stroppy Author said...

Yes and no! Sort of tried it and then returned to a paper scrapbook. But I think that's because most of the images I needed for my current project came from printed sources and it seemed silly to scan them in just to add to Pinterest when a glue stick was easier.

I'm pleased it works for you - and I can see I might well make it work with another project. In fact, I might go and make a micro one now for a short story as currently I'be got all the pictures for that in a Word document...

Sue Purkiss said...

Interesting idea! But as far as characters are concerned, I'm not sure I want an exact idea of what they look like. I don't when I'm reading, either - one or two details are good, but I don't normally want a detailed picture.

Ann Turnbull said...

Like Sue, I only need a hazy, general idea of what my characters look like. Otherwise I use the same methods but without recourse to technology. I use a large pinboard and the back of my office door and cover them with cut-out pictures, postcards, maps, etc. I love doing this, but it has to be paper! Computers are useful but they drive me mad and are strictly for work.

Caroline Green said...

Ooh I like this idea very much. Can I ignorantly ask though, can the Pinterest page be set for just you to see?

Jackie Marchant said...

Hmm - is this an excuse to search the internet for nice looking young men? Must say, I am rather tempted . . .

Anonymous said...

Very good idea for creating a board of all the ref material. Not sure how you stand with Copyright infringement in altering the photo though!
I appreciate you tried to find the original source, and in normal circumstances if you were printing this out, this would be for your eyes only.
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

By doing a reverse image search on Google, I found that this is Farzan Athari, an Iranian professional male model. The original image can be found on several sites. To do this, go to Google images, click the little camera icon in the search box, and either add the url of the image, or upload a copy of it. Google then finds all similar on the web. A helpful way to track origins of images for permission to use/alter them. :)

Michele Helene said...

I once spent HOURS, I tell you hours, on a site called Pimp the face. But yes, I do do this kind of thing and like you find it very useful, but I put everything on Scrivener, so that I can turn off the internet connection when I'm writing. Also in relation to what Sue and Ann said, I sometimes find it helpful to have a clearer image in my head so that I don't put masses of details down when I'm writing.

Keren David said...

I've done Pinterest boards for all my books - but only after writing them! Never thought of doing it the other way round, but I will now. Thanks, Lucy.

Stroppy Author said...

Yes, Caroline, you can keep a Pinterest board private.